Could you imagine walking into a shooting range and seeing mugshots of only Black men as the main target practice? Army National Guard Valerie Deant saw Black men’s mugshots being used as shooting targets and the North Miami Beach Police left them behind at Medley Firearms Training Center. What’s even crazier is that one of the mugshots was an old photo of her brother Woody who was arrested 15 years ago. Oh Lordt.
Deant was at the range in December when she and a few other soldiers went for their annual weapons qualifications procedure. On noticing the all-Black men mugshots, penetrated with bullets, her eyes darted to Woody’s in particular. “I was like ‘why is my brother being used for target practice?’” She began to sob because she found it unbelievable. He was 18-years-old in the picture, arrested for drag racing in 2000. He ended up spending four years in prison.
Afterwards, Deant told her family what had happened, including Woody, who was “speechless” at the discovery. To NBC Miami on Channel 6, he expressed, “Now I’m being used as a target? I’m not even living that life according to how they portrayed me as. I’m a father. I’m a husband. I’m a career man. I work 9-to-5.”
No lawsuits have been filed yet, but the Deants story was shown on local news, and Attorney Andell Brown is on speed dial. NBC Miami soon prompted an investigation to see if it was commonplace to use photos of real people as targets. Based on their research with five local police departments and federal and state law enforcement agencies, all sources confided that they’ve only used “commercially produced targets” (animated), opposing photos of real human beings. So the North Miami Beach police are the only exception here? How nice.
North Miami Beach Police Chief J. Scott Dennis has defended the insensitive act of Black men target shots in saying, “Our policies were not violated. There is no discipline forthcoming from the individuals who were involved with this.” But he did admit that it was in poor taste to use a person arrested before and still alive in the same town or state: “That individual would be someone who was on the streets of North Miami Beach.”
This is so messed up. What Chief Dennis was afraid to expand on was that in grouping “targets” by race for sniper and shooting practices, it psychologically cements the idea that in real life, anybody that resembles those racially-grouped photos is a potential suspect. And that’s a really scary thought.
What do you think beauties? Sound off in the comments below.